by Jennifer Etherton
Everyone has heard of agents and there has even been a few movies portraying the profession in almost every light imaginable, but the truth can be just as fascinating as the fiction. Agents are a support system and a new connection to the industry. It is your agent’s job to use all of his or her connections and experience to see that your career soars as high as possible and you make the most money you can from every sale. While nothing is fool proof, the agented author stands a better chance avoiding scams, being accepted or considered at the most prominent houses in the world, and reaching their fullest potential.
In reality, a large majority of the most highly recognized names in the business will not even consider an author unless he or she has an agent. Why is this a harsh reality? The answer is quite simple; an agent does most of the work for the editor. If your manuscript goes through an agent, this means that you and your work has already been prescreened as being marketable. The editor is also more confident that your work will fit the style of novel that the publisher is seeking. All of this takes time, so the editor would rather another professional wade through all of the unworthy pieces to bring him or her the diamonds.
Agents even go one-step further than that when it comes to shopping out their authors’ works. The agent is there to ensure that you’re shown in the best light possible. This means that your entire package looks like it is worth a million bucks. Agents write proposals, queries, and bios on a daily basis and we know what an editor wants to see. We help our authors by making sure they are irresistible to the editors. All of these pieces combine together to bring an author the highest paycheck possible.
While it is true, there are no guarantees in the entertainment industry and even with an agent you will experience rejection, your agent is still one of the most important members of your team. He or she will stand by you through thick and thin, will encourage you to be the best, and will make sure that your work is sold to the best house possible. In return, all the author needs to do is give their agent the best manuscripts they can produce and trust that their agent will never lead them astray.
There is one thing that the movies won’t show you when it comes to the portrayal of the agent; they don't show how hard we work to make the process look easy. The author/agent relationship is a team effort, a marriage of talent and business; when a relationship reaches this level it results in an unstoppable force ready to take the publishing world by storm.
Jennifer Etherton, Agent
Jennifer Etherton Literary Services